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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Friday, 29 Sep 2006

Location: Santa Cruz Trek, Peru

MapWe´ve just got back from our 4 day trek, which was great. The scenery was superb and we can really recommend Huascaran Adventure Travel Agency. We also went with a great group of people - Klaus and Kathi from Germany and Debs and Gemma from the UK. We also had a guide, Epi, Juan the arriero (donkey wrangler), Witman the assistant and five donkeys to carry the tents, equipment, food and our stuff.

This was real camping for us - no showers or toilet facilities (a tent erected around a hole in the ground does not constitute facilities in my mind). It was also cold - on day 3 we woke up with ice on the outside of the tent and we had dinner wearing our warmest clothes and woolly hats. But everything was really well organised - we were woken up with hot tea (at 5.30am!) - coca tea on the high altitude day, followed by a bowl of warm water to wash in, the food was great - salads for lunch with hot drinks, 2 course dinners (home made soups) and even wine to celebrate the high altitude day.

We also had entertainment with Debs and Gemma serenading us from their tent at night. This involved them singing along to their iPods - the same song but regrettably not entirely synchronised. Heaven only knows what the fierce looking Israelis with their big hunting knives who were at our campsite on the third night made of it.

The walking was strenuous at times - crossing the Punta Union Pass at 4,750m was an absolute killer, even level bits were hard at that altitude! But the scenery more than made up for it. On the third day we decided not to do a side trip to a glacier (more high altitude) and had a beautiful walk to a lake with another glacier in the background.

Although this is a popular trek, it`s nowhere near as crowded as the Inca Trail and only one other group went on the same day. On day one we walked past them eating their rolls for lunch - they then walked past us eating our avocado salads off real plates - this set the tone for the whole trip. One of their group subsequently said that we had booked business class.

Business class or not, I`m still not entirely convinced by camping. There`s a lot to be said for solid walls, soft beds, showers and especially toilets. But overall we had a really good time and who knows, we might even do it again.